Review & Giveaway: The Wedding Gift by Cara Connelly

The Wedding Gift
Save The Date #3.5
By: Cara Connelly
Releasing May 5, 2015

What's the New-Jan-Plan? Discover the answer in Cara Connelly's newest Save The Date Novella, and see how mousey Jan Marone gives herself the gift of living, laughing, and finally loving … all under the hot Key West sun.

She'd come to Key West for a wedding, only to discover the hotel had messed up her reservation. So although Jan Marone has to share a tiny room with sexy Mick McKenna, it shouldn't really be a problem. Mick's her best friend, and he doesn't think of her "that way" … or does he?

Mick McKenna loves hard and plays hard. His thick black hair, chiseled jaw, and hard, muscled body make him irresistible. But when once-innocent Jan walks into his hotel room, Mick can't believe his eyes. Now she's wearing a sexy bikini and telling him it's time for her to "get lucky," making him protective and tantalized at the same time.

Worried she might be in over her head, he decides never to leave her side … and suddenly their hotel room seems smaller—and hotter—than ever. Mick's always been hands-off with Jan—but has the right woman been under his nose the whole time?

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A quick glance around revealed the limited amenities: modest flatscreen on the wall; dorm-sized fridge; and a tiny bureau that doubled as a nightstand, holding a digital clock and small lamp. At the foot of the queen bed, Mick’s suitcase flopped open on a narrow bench.

Jan sidled along the bedside and closed herself in the world’s smallest bathroom: a budget-sized toilet wedged between a teacup sink and a phone-booth shower stall.

Everything was clean as a whistle, but one wrong move and she’d have black and blue funny bones in the wedding photos.

Washing her hands in the teacup, she made the mistake of looking into the mirror above it.

Hello, palest person in Key West. And your hair.” Six hours on three airplanes, and her bun straggled like spaghetti.

Unwrapping the scrunchie that bound it, she ran her fingers through the light brown waves. Humidity or not, she was wearing it down this weekend.

In fact, she was wearing it down from now on. “I’m done with the bun,” she rapped to the mirror, and tossed the scrunchie into the trash.

Day One of the New-Jan Plan.

Out in the bedroom, she found Mick stretched out on the mattress, hands locked behind his head, watching a Simpson’s rerun.

You’re getting the bed wet,” she said automatically.

It’ll dry.”

That was Mick, never worrying about anything, while she worried about everything. And where had it gotten her? Out on the street, that’s where, while he was tucked up in Paradise.

Which was exactly why she was changing her old, boring ways. They weren’t working for her. At. All.

Wow.” From Mick. “Your hair got long.”

Eh.” She plopped down next to him. “Hair grows.”

It’s just that you never wear it down.” He reached out and rubbed the ends between his fingers. “Soft.”

She eyed him. Sometimes she wondered about Mick. They’d been friends since kindergarten, through the years when boys and girls were supposed to hate each other, even through high school when he was the quarterback and she was a dork.

Twelve years out, he was still captain of the team, so to speak. Fire Captain at his Engine Company, a bona fide hero with a shiny new Medal of Valor, and a mother’s lifelong gratitude for rescuing her eight-year-old.

Meanwhile Jan was still fighting dorkyness. Still too skinny, too nerdy, too plain to be anything more than his buddy, his pal.

But sometimes … sometimes when he looked at her the way he was looking at her now

Nah. She locked it down. She wasn’t Mick’s type. And truthfully, he wasn’t hers either. If she ever found a guy, he’d be white collar all the way. A lawyer or an accountant. Not someone who risked his life every day.

Her mother had that much of it right. Yes, she was controlling, neurotic, and paranoid. But about marrying a man with a dangerous job, Jan’s mother could speak with authority.

Knuckles rapped the door, and Mick hopped up and opened it to the blond from the desk. “Hey, Barbie.”

Barbie? Seriously?

Barbie’s gaze tracked slowly from Mick’s bare chest up to his lips. “Hi, Mick.” Breathless.

Jan rolled her eyes and did a finger wave. “Looking for me? Did you find me a room?”

Barbie dragged her gaze away from Mick. “Um, no. No rooms.”

Nowhere on the island?” Mick dragged a hand through his hair. “This is bullshit,” he declared to the world at large.

I’m so sorry.” Barbie sounded genuinely sympathetic—on Mick’s account, not Jan’s. “The whole island’s been booked for months. Even if someone cancels, everyplace has a waiting list. There’s nothing I can do.”

Thanks for trying.” Mick melted Barbie with a smile. “I’m turning my room over to Jan. I’ll figure something out for myself.”

Jan popped up. “Wait just a minute—”

Barbie steamrolled her. “I’ve got a spare room at my place,” she said to Mick. “You can crash with me.”

No.” Jan wagged her head definitively. “No no no no no.”

Mick had a way of pissing women off. Not completely his fault, since he never made any promises. The problem was, Mick loved women. He couldn’t help making them feel special, and their imaginations ran away with it.

Then, when he didn’t fall in with their plans, things went downhill with a bullet.

All Julie’s wedding needed was Barbie storming the reception and dumping the cake over Mick’s head. Julie would lay the disaster at Jan’s door, because Mick was her wedding guest.

But Barbie was clueless, batting lashes as long as her namesake’s. “Really, Mick, I don’t mind.”

I mind,” Jan said, sounding more possessive than she meant to.

Mick must have picked up on it, because he flicked his gaze her way, a quick bolt of blue that could steal an unsuspecting woman’s breath.

Her clothes were sure to follow.

But Jan wasn’t an unsuspecting woman. She’d been there from the beginning, keeping herself out of harm’s way as Mick learned to handle his sexual mojo, wielding it like a blunt instrument in high school, and like a light saber ever since.

Sometimes, like now, he carelessly swung it in her direction.

Ignoring the sting, she took one for the bride and groom.

Thanks anyway,” she said to Barbie, “but Mick’s staying right here with me.”

Author Info
CARA CONNELLY is an award-winning author of contemporary romances. Her smart and sexy stories have won high praise, earning Cara several awards including the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart, the Valley Forge Romance Writers’ Sheila, and the Music City Romance Writers’ Melody of Love. Cara, who lives in rural upstate New York, works as appellate court attorney when she’s not crafting steamy novels of love and romance.

Author Links
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What I thought...

I know not everyone is a fan of novella's within a series. Some feel its a great way to get your fix until the next book, others a waste of time and would rather just have the full size book. I'm a fan of them for a few reasons. I like to be able to try a author at a discounted price. I think novella's give you a taste without the whole meal. Plus it does satisfy my fix until the next mass-market book comes out. If you haven't figured out yet that I'm a addict you haven't been paying attention. If you haven't yet tried a book by Cara Connelly then this is the perfect one to pick. You will be able to get a feel for her writing (which is wonderful) and a taste of her characters (can't live without them) In the Wedding Gift you have Jan & Mick, best friends...that is until Jan decides it's time for her to come out of her cocoon and Mick decided he liked her to show her colors, but only next to him. I think you'll love both Jan and Mick and their struggle to find themselves and to realize the person they always wanted is each other. It's fun ride that we get to enjoy with them. This is the perfect vacation read. In fact her whole Save the Date series is the perfect vacation read. I'm sure you'll enjoy The Wedding Gift. Happy reading! 

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